Sydney Sixers 1 for 168 (Vince 98*) beat Perth Scorchers 6 for 167 (Inglis 69*) by nine wickets
James Vince's unbeaten 98 enabled defending champions Sydney Sixers to secure a home final in style, which will be staged at the SCG, as they aim to go back-to-back with a crushing nine-wicket victory over Perth Scorchers in Canberra although the Scorchers will get a second chance in the Challenger on next Thursday.
The Scorchers were behind the game early having struggled after batting first - their preferred method - reaching 1 for 11 after three overs on a surface that began with some life but eased beautifully for the Sixers' chase as dew played a part.
Steve O'Keefe was superb with 1 for 20 off his four overs without conceding a boundary. Josh Inglis' 69 off 41 balls, and a fifth-wicket stand of 59 with captain Ashton Turner, gave them something to work with in the field but the Sixers with 0 for 43 after the Powerplay.
Vince, who was missed twice in the field, and Josh Philippe added 92 for the first wicket in less than nine overs to leave the result in little doubt. Vince closed in on a century but after Daniel Hughes blocked three deliveries a wide from AJ Tye denied him the dip at a boundary with boos ringing around the ground.
The Scorchers will hope that their home-ground advantage in Perth in a few days lifts them to a better performance to allow a rematch next Saturday.
Barely putting a foot wrong
The start of the chase promised much in the contest between Philippe and Jhye Richardson, two of the standout players of the tournament, but after Richardson beat the edge first ball it comfortably went Philippe's way as he took 13 off it, including a six over the leg side. Vince joined in during the second over against Jason Behrendorff although in less convincing fashion with an outside edge to third man then a pull that burst through Richardson's hands at short fine leg. But both batsmen were away and the run-rate pressure was eased. Vince was dropped on 23 by Aaron Hardie as he back-tracked from mid-off, following up the left-off with three consecutive boundaries. Against the run of play, Phillippe swept Liam Livingstone to short fine leg but the damage had been done.
The full Vince
Vince went to his half-century with a six off Turner that just evaded long-on and such was the dominance of his strokeplay that the chance for a century - it would have been his second in T20 - loomed into view with the result a foregone conclusion. The innings had been studded with the trademark Vince elegance and he went to 97 with a thumping straight drive off Richardson but then took a single and when Hughes pulled a boundary it led a slightly surreal finish. Hughes blocked and left three deliveries - with Vince seemingly having said just to win the match - before Tye sent down a loopy bouncer with the first delivery of the 18th over that had to be called wide which was followed by some reluctant handshakes.
That'll cost you, Mitch
The lack of DRS has been a continual debate in this edition of the BBL and it was front and centre in this match when Mitchell Marsh was given caught down the leg side against O'Keefe. Marsh wasn't even looking at the umpire after attempting to glance the delivery away and could barely believe it when the finger went up. He screamed his frustration at the crease then as he started to walk away appeared to direct more anger towards the umpire - something that will likely land him with a fine. It is likely there will be a form of review system in place for next season, although it may not be a full DRS with all the bells and whistles. Alex Carey, on Channel Seven commentary for the match, said that was even necessary for obvious howlers although for the Marsh type of dismissal, even though replays suggested a clear gap between bat and ball, Snicko would be required.
With 37 players selected across the two squads for the tours of New Zealand and South Africa, Inglis can count himself unlucky not to be among the names. After a slow start to this season's BBL he has been prolific since slipping into the middle order, following a superb tournament last year and impressive Sheffield Shield returns for Western Australia, and could easily have gone on either tour. In this innings rebuilding was needed from 2 for 39 when he arrived then later 4 for 85 in the 13th. He paced it well, bringing an early increase in tempo and then quickly helping Turner take 34 off the Power Surge. His fifty came from 34 balls and he managed two further sixes off the last four deliveries he faced. But the easing conditions that helped Inglis flourish played perfectly into the Sixers' hands.